« AnteriorContinuar »
extent, and grandeur of the blessing conveyed in these words. Israel is now in a state of depression and seemingly forgotten. They have not been saved, aided, exalted, according to the plain import of these words. It will be noticed that the blessing has particular respect to the land which was given them by covenant.
In the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, from the beginning of the tenth verse, and on, is the following prediction. “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people ; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious. (Christ is here certainly in view; and, from parallel places it is undeniable, that by his rest, Israel is intended.) And it shall come to pass, that in that day the Lord shall set his hand again the second time, (the return from the Babylonian captivity was the first) to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the Isles of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth. And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry shod. And there shall be a high way for the remnant of his people, who shall be left from Assyria, like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.” No one can pretend that this prediction has had a fulfilment. It is yet to be executed ; and its execution must involve a restoration of the dispersed descendants of Abraham to the land of promise. The 23d verse of the 24th chapter of this prophet, if it be compared with the preceding context, and interpreted according to the analo. sy of scripture, will appear to be strongly in favor of this idea. “ Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign
in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ang cients gloriously,” See also the 33d chapter 20th verse. “Look upon Sion, the city of our solemnities; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed; neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." It is indisputable that this prediction has not yet been fulfilled. The ruin under which Jerusalem lies, is a proof that it refers to a period yet future. Its accomplishment must nécessarily involve a restoration to the land. Ib. li. 11. "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their head ; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrowing and mourning shall flee away. Though it is probable this passage has ultimate respect to the blessedness of heaven; the context shews, that it relates immediately to Israel, and a redemption which is to take place in this world. It secures a literal return to, and a triumphant, final repossession of Žion. To the same purpose is a passage in the 60th chapter, beginning at the 9th verse. The Gospel day is here plainly in view. “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far :- And the sons of the stranger
shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee ; for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee ; the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. Whereas, thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, (Israel is here represented undeniably as occupying a particular territory) I will make thee an eternal excellency, the joy of many genera, tions.--Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders ; but thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise. -Thy people also shall be all righteous : They shall inherit ihe land forever ; the branch of my planting i
the work of my hands that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation ; I the Lord will hasten it in his time.” This passage needs not to be commented upon. Let its terms, which have unquestionably a local reference, be duly considered. It will be perceived, that it has not yet been fulfilled, and that its fulfilment must be in a literal restoration. A similar string of promises we have in the 62d chapter. Israel is here distinguished from the Gentiles as the object of the blessing engaged. "Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken; neither shall thy land be termed Desolate': but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. --Go through, go through the gates ; prepare you the way of the people ; cast up, cast up the high way ; gather out the stones ; lift up a standard for the people. And they shall call themselves the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, and thou shalt be callod a city sought out, and not forsaken." Far. ther proof of a restoration we have in the prophecy of Jer. xxiii. 5. “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute justice, and judgment in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely, and this is the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness. Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth which brought up, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the North country, and from all the Countries whither I have driven them, and they shall dwell in their own land.” This prediction, as we are constrained to determine from the plain import of the words of it, was to be carried into effect in the days of the Messiah. But no events have taken place in which it can be considered as accomplished. It remains yet therefore to be fulfilled, It will be proper here again to introduce a passage from this prophet, which for another purpose has already been quoted. Chapter 30. verses, 18, 19, 20. “ Thus saith the Lord, behold I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded on her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof." And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving, and the voice of them that make merry; and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; and I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established, and I will punish all that oppress them.” It can hardly be doubted that this prophecy looks forward to a period yet future. If it does, it certainly proves a restoration yet to be accomplished.
We shall next produce two passages from Ezekiel, which clearly ascertain this desirable event. The first is in the xx. chap. beginning at the 41, verse.." I will accept you with your sweet savor when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the Countries whither you have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye
shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways and your doings wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight, for all the eyils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” The other passage is in the 37 chapter, beginning at the 21st. verse: “ And say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them in, to their own land. And I will make them one nation
in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all ; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols ; nor with their detestable things, nor with their transgressions ; but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned; and I will cleanse them, so they shall be my people, and I will be their God. And David my.servánt shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd ; they shall also walk in my judgments, and obserye my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land which I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt. And they shall dwell therein, they and their children, and their children's children forever ; and my servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them ; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of them forevermore." It cannot be pretended that these predictions have had their complete and ultimate accomplishment. The restoration from the Babylonian captivity, was an event much short of the plain import of this language. It was not attended with the reunion of the tribes; nor with such a general and final sanctification, as these promises engage to effect. By David, it is evident,the Messiah is intenạed and that the scene of these eventful operations is laid in the Gospel day. In the fulfilment of these promises, the triumphs of grace are to be consummated.
The last verse of the 1st chapter of Hosea, presents farther corroborative proof of a restoration. This verse certainly describes an event which was to take place after the judicial dispersion of the unbelieving Jews. For the last clause of the preceding verse, is expressly